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Weber State University relies solely on surface parking lots because garages are dramatically more expensive, according to university officials. Parking is an ongoing concern for many Weber State students. (Photo by Lichelle Jenkins / The Signpost)

Weber State University does not have a parking garage because officials say it would raise the cost of student parking to unaffordable rates.

The majority of students commute to campus every day. This makes parking a hot issue every semester, as it affects almost everyone on campus.

Parking Services is always looking for ways to improve the parking conditions on campus. One of the most suggested improvements that Parking Services has looked into is an on-campus parking structure.

According to officials, the cost of building such a structure would result in significant rate increases for student parking passes

“When you look at universities that have built a parking structure, the cost of their passes are two, three, four, five times more than the cost of a parking pass at Weber State,” said Norm Tarbox, vice president for administrative services at Weber State.

Weber State “A1” passes cost students $113 a year for parking in lots that are considered more convenient. Similar passes from other schools–the $200 “U” permit at the University of Utah and the $102 Blue pass at Utah State–provide similar parking options with the addition of two levels to one parking structure at each school.

Utah Valley University boasts a price of only $80 a year for a Yellow parking permit. However, a parking garage pass runs $750 a year.

Building a parking structure is expensive and usually considered only as a last resort, when there is no room to build a surface lot, university officials say. Funding from the state is rarely approved for such projects. This means the construction of a parking structure would have to be paid for from parking revenue.

“The average cost per parking stall on a surface lot is $1,500-$2,000, where the average cost per stall in a structure is $15,000 to $20,000,” said Crystal Taylor, the manager of Parking Services.

Taylor added that this reflects the cost of construction only. Maintenance costs and security for the structure would add to the price.

After considering the cost of a parking structure, Tarbox says that Weber State has no intention of constructing one on campus.

“We don’t want to triple or quadruple the price of parking on campus for students, faculty and staff,” Tarbox said. “Someday we may have to have one, but for now no one’s gonna like what it means to the price of parking if we do.”

However, Weber State has been making other significant changes recently. Additional lots were created and current lots redesigned to add over 500 new stalls over the summer, giving the Ogden campus the most “W”-stalls and “A”-stalls it has ever had, Tarbox said.

Despite these changes, many students are still finding it frustrating to find a close parking space, especially between 8-11:30 a.m., when the majority of classes are scheduled.

Parking Services has developed the Dee Events Center permit option for students who find themselves in this situation. Dee Events Center permits cost $25 for the entire school year and provide access to thousands of stalls and a free shuttle to campus.

“This frustration can be greatly reduced by arriving a few minutes early and parking at the Dee Events Center and taking the shuttle to campus,” Taylor said. “There is more than enough parking to accommodate all of our permit holders even during the busiest times on campus.”

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